Panama City is home to a few really great snorkeling opportunities. The jetties at the St Andrews State Park form a fantastic artificial reef. Its unique location at the interface of the large estuary in the bay and the open Gulf of Mexico means it is home to large amounts of both juvenile and adult fish plus the soft corals and bizarre invertebrate life. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, the jetty rocks form a breakwater and a shallow lagoon at the park offering calm confined water ideal for snorkeling and scuba training in up to 8′ of water. Over the rocks the water drops from 20′ all the way down to 78′ before coming back up to 30′ at the very seaward most point of the rocks. This part of the park is home pelagic fish as well as the species of reef fish and ornamentals and occasionally manatees, eagle rays, and dolphins pass through and are not considered uncommon.
Other fun snorkeling locations include the grass flats in the Bay behind Shell Island and the wreck of the Simpson off the old pass. You’ll need a boat to get there though! THere are a number of pontoon boat rental companies like Double Fun Watersports and Tour operators like Dolphin and Snorkel Tours That can take care of you but those are the two we recommend!